Chicago Sun-Times
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Liberal duck season: ``99.9 percent sure''

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A good duck census by the USFWS means a 16-day teal season and makes a liberal duck season virtually certain, according Illinois waterfowl biologist Ray Marshalla. The USFWS release is at the end below.

``The 16-day teal season is a sure thing and I would be 99.99% sure we will get a liberal 60-day duck season,'' he said.

Teal season will most likely be Sept. 5-20.

2009 Waterfowl Survey Indicates Increase In Many Duck Species

The preliminary estimate of total ducks from the 2009 Waterfowl Breeding
Population and Habitat Survey was 42 million, which is 13 percent greater
than last year's estimate and 25 percent greater than the 1955-2008
average, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today.

The Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey samples more than two
million square miles of waterfowl habitat across the north-central and
northeastern United States, south-central, eastern, and northern Canada,
and Alaska. The survey estimates the number of ducks on the continent's
primary nesting grounds.

Overall, habitat conditions for breeding waterfowl in 2009 were better than
conditions in 2008. The total pond estimate (Prairie Canada and United
States combined) was 6.4 million. This was 45 percent above last year's
estimate of 4.4 million ponds and 31 percent above the long-term average of
4.9 million ponds.

The annual survey guides the Service's waterfowl conservation programs
under authority of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The Service works in
partnership with state biologists from the four flyways - the Atlantic,
Mississippi, Central and Pacific - to establish regulatory frameworks for
waterfowl hunting season lengths, dates, and bag limits.

Highlights from the survey in the north-central United States,
south-central and northern Canada, and Alaska (the traditional survey area)
include:

· The estimated mallard population is 8.5 million birds, a 10 percent
increase over last year's estimate of 7.7 million birds and 13 percent
above the long-term average.

· The estimated population of 3.1 million gadwall is similar to last
year's estimate and 73 percent above the long-term average.

· At 7.4 million, the estimated population size of blue-winged teal is
the second highest on record, while green-winged teal numbers were at an
all-time high of 3.4 million. Estimates for both species are well above
their long-term averages (60 percent and 79 percent, respectively).

· The 3.2 million estimate for northern pintails is 23 percent more
than last year but 20 percent below the long-term average.

· The estimated number of one million redheads is similar to last year
and is 62 percent above the long-term average.

· The canvasback estimate of 662,000 is 35 percent more than last
year's estimate and similar to the long-term average.

· The estimated abundance of northern shovelers (4.4 million) is 25
percent more than last year and 92 percent above the long-term average.

· The scaup (lesser and greater combined), estimate of 4.2 million, is
12 percent greater than last year but 18 percent below the long-term
average.

Population estimates for American black ducks, ring-necked ducks, American
wigeon, bufflehead, goldeneyes, and mergansers surveyed in eastern North
America are similar to last year as well as their 1990-2008 averages.

This preliminary report does not include estimates from surveys conducted
by State or Provincial agencies. The entire Trends in Duck Breeding
Populations, 1955-2009 report can be downloaded from the Service's Web site
at < http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/>.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to
conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for
the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and
trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific
excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated
professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our
work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on July 7, 2009 8:28 AM.

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